Local landmarks handpainted onto 70 rocks as part of Mini-Ely festival
PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 November 2020
Think of Ely and no doubt the iconic cathedral springs to mind, as well as Oliver Cromwell’s House and the railway station.
But a quirky giraffe named Sarafa, the lost village of Kettlesworth and one of the nation’s most struck bridges have all made it onto a rock hall of fame that celebrates the city.
About 70 rocks, painted by the Ely Rock Eels group as part of a ‘mini Ely fest’, were presented to Mayor Sue Austin and Visit Ely’s tourism and town centre manager Anna Bennett, on Monday.
Visit Ely will display the rocks at Oliver Cromwell’s House when it reopens, with a view to running a future competition.
Anna said: “Art during lockdown cheers people up. Do you have a favourite?”
The mayor of Ely said she was “absolutely amazed” by the work that had gone into recreating Ely landmarks on painted pebbles.
“I‘m really impressed, they are really professional. My granddaughters love going around and finding rocks,” she added.
Ely resident Tali Iserles came up with the mini Ely fest idea but didn’t anticipate how challenging it would be to implement.
Tali said: “I’m passionate about Ely and wanted to celebrate it with rocks! I didn’t realise how hard it would be to replicate famous landmarks on rocks – it was a labour of love.
“But it was definitely worthwhile. Rockers always step up to the challenge and they definitely didn’t disappoint. They’ve done Ely proud.”
A member of the Littleport parkrun group, Tali included some of her favourite running landmarks – including the site of a former settlement called Kettlesworth, between Queen Adelaide and Chettisham.
“There is so much history around the Fens, so I wanted to include some of it in mini Ely.”
Fleur Patten, who runs Ely Rock Eels, admitted she had had her doubts about the challenge.
“I thought this was going to be a nightmare. All that brick and windows, but look at it! The rockers just rocked it.
“We’ve learned about Kettlesworth and we’ve made new friends.”
While painting an iconic “pink house”, Fleur got to meet Nora, who lives there, and discover some of its history.
Local historian and former mayor Michael Rouse said: “It’s lovely that people are looking at Ely’s heritage in a different way but really learning to look at it in order to paint or draw it and, therefore, probably finding out so much more about it.”
As well as the rocks, Visit Ely was presented with a banner, painted by Ely College student Ruby Williams, featuring local icons, including the cathedral, Ely Hero Awards and Sarafa – a model giraffe located between the back of Babylon Gallery and Peacock’s Tea Rooms.
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